Amazon and Disney have announced that Hey Disney! — the custom voice assistant created for Walt Disney resort locations — can now be added to Echo devices in the US for a fee. Also known as the Disney Magical Companion, Hey Disney! is the first Alexa custom assistant to be made available for “select Amazon Echo devices” (we’ve asked for a list) in your home, providing an array of Disney, Pixar, and Star Wars character voices like BB-8, Minnie Mouse, and Fozzie Bear as well as Disney-flavored responses to things like weather reports, timers, and alarms.
Hey Disney! is included as a part of the Amazon Kids Plus subscription. It can also be purchased as a $5.99 annual, auto-renewing subscription from the Alexa skills store. You can subscribe and set up the custom Disney voice assistant by asking an Echo device, “Alexa, introduce me to Hey Disney.” This will make recognize “Hey Disney” as a wake word (though the device will still respond to its actual wake word) and users can get an overview of how the voice assistant works alongside the Alexa ecosystem by saying, “Hey Disney, start the magic.” Don’t laugh.
We should note that while Hey Disney! gives you plenty of character voices to choose from — including Mickey Mouse, Dory, and Mater — it’s technically a single specialized voice assistant rather than just an Alexa celebrity voice overlay. It doesn’t replace Alexa completely and will revert back to using Alexa for any queries it can’t address with Disney theming. The feature provides additional perks like interactive adventures with Disney characters, storytelling, soundscapes, Disney trivia games, and more. Frozen’s Olaf can provide a weather forecast on a snowy day, for example, or chill Star Wars soundscapes can play Endor-themed music.
“Hey Disney! represents the art of what’s possible when two major companies marry their creative and technical expertise,” said Mark Yoshitake, GM and director of Alexa skills. “This is a whole new way to bring Disney storytelling to life for fans of all ages and we are thrilled to offer a magical, new experience for customers to enjoy on their Echo devices.”